The home and community environment can set the tone for a healthy lifestyle for children and adolescents. This is particularly true in the area of physical activity. Parents and caregivers can be role models in their levels of activity and also support community activities that encourage regular physical activity and make it fun.
To foster that notion, the Section on Pediatrics (SOP) of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) recently hosted their first annual conference in Orlando, Florida. The conference provided 3 days of educational programming and networking focused on a lifespan approach from neonatal and infancy through the young adult, including fitness and sports participation within the community.
An exciting element of the conference was the coordinated participation in the Walk Disney World Marathon Weekend Events.
The SOP instituted a fitness challenge, “GOOFY FOR EXERCISE” which encouraged children and adults of all age groups and abilities to be “Goofy for Exercise!” The challenge went out to all SOP members and the community to train for a 5K, half marathon, or full marathon. Team Members (many who were first timers) met in Orlando the weekend of January 8 – 10, 2010 to participate in the event.
More than 50,000 runners (including their family and friends) passed through the SOP booth at the health fair to retrieve their race packets. As an exhibitor, the SOP provided fitness literature that included APTA’s Fit Teens and Fit Kids magazines and “Fit for Life” stuffed toy bears.
This event supported three key messages:
- Being active can be a family affair and fun for adults and children alike,
- Pediatric physical therapists can support children and their families by being good role models and ensuring opportunities for children and families to participate, and
- Physical activity is important regardless of a persons’ abilities
Presently the SOP envisions “Goofy for Exercise” as an on-going campaign/training event, involving more families and coordinating with other small pediatric charity groups. We plan to identify several diverse fitness events and health fairs throughout the year to “encourage exercise for all.”
The SOP and the APTA also have a number of current and future resources for children and families that encompass all ability levels. These resources can be found at: http://www.pediatricapta.org/consumer-patient-information/index.cfm.
Potential Future “Goofy for Exercise Events” inlcude:
- September 3-5, 2010 Disneyland –Family Fun Run & Half Marathon Team; SOP Booth at Health Fair
- January 6-9, 2011 Walt Disney World – Family Fun Run & Events, Half & Full Marathon Team; SOP Booth at Health Fair
- September 2-4, 2011 Disneyland – Family Fun Run & Half Marathon Team; SOP Booth at Health Fair
- Web Link to training schedule
- Simultaneous races/events throughout country
We are on the way to more fun stuff!
“It’s Kind of Fun to Do the Impossible” Walt Disney
Do you plan on joining the SOP “Goofy for Exercise” Challenge at one of our planed events?
What event will you plan in your community to be “Goofy for Exercise?”
Written by guest blogger: Cindy Miles, PT, MEd, PCS